Overview Skin Redness
Skin redness is one of the most common medical conditions. The skin is a sensitive organ — even though it’s located outside of the body. Whenever it comes in contact with allergens, inflammatories, or bacteria, it can redden. Even hormones and foods inside the body can affect the skin; in fact, everything from stress to the environment can wreak havoc on every layer of your epidermis!
Find out how to treat skin redness, how to prevent it, and when to call a doctor.
Types of Skin Redness
The skin can get red and inflamed for a wide variety of reasons. Anytime your epidermis becomes disrupted in any way, it can redden. Just some of the main causes of skin redness include:
One of the most common types of skin redness is burns. Burns can range in severity from mild to moderate to severe.
One of the more milder types of burns is first-degree burns. This is when just the top layer of the epidermis is burned. A common first-degree burn is a sunburn or accidentally burning a finger or hand on a stove.
More severe burns are second-and-third-degree burns. A second-degree burn is when the burn penetrates through the second layer of the epidermis; a third-degree burn is when it penetrates to the third layer.
When the skin is burned by chemicals, it’s called a chemical burn. This is generally much more serious than a first-degree burn (and sometimes more serious than second-or-third-degree burns).
If you’re unsure of what to do for a chemical or other serious burn, we recommend chatting with an online urgent care doctor. Of course, you should call 911 or head to an emergency room if the burn is serious.
Contact dermatitis is a reddening of the skin after it has come in contact with an allergen. Just a few examples of allergens that can redden the skin include:
- Synthetic materials
- Poison ivy
This type of condition isn’t contagious, so you don’t need to worry about transmitting it to someone else. Simply, contact an online doctor to get a treatment plan or order an at-home testing kit to determine if you have any allergies.
Cellulitis is a reddening of the skin due to bacteria getting underneath the top layer — usually through a cut or abrasion.
If you’re concerned you have cellulitis, we recommend contacting an urgent care doctor or heading to an emergency room, as this can be a serious condition.
Eczema is a skin condition that often flares up during times of stress or in reaction to allergens. It appears as red, rough, scales on the top layer of the skin.
A more general type of red skin condition is an infection. Like cellulitis, an infection generally can happen on any area of the skin and is the result of bacteria making its way under the epidermis. Not all infections are severe though, so just contact your primary care provider to get an over-the-counter or prescription treatment.
Rashes are the result of the skin coming in contact with an allergen. Like contact dermatitis, they are usually harmless — though they can be pretty itchy and even painful. They can be large and blotchy or cover only a small area and appear bumpy.
One of the most common causes of skin redness is rosacea. It appears as red, blotchy skin. Sometimes the red area is also raised, and sometimes you can see red or blue veins underneath the red skin.
Shingles are a viral infection that looks like a red band wrapped around your ribs. They often look like raised bumps and can be painful and/or itchy.
Causes of Skin Redness
The causes of skin redness depend on the type of redness you’re experiencing. For example, rashes are often caused by allergies or coming in contact with a poisonous plant.
Some other common causes of skin redness include viral infections, bacterial infections, and genetic conditions.
Symptoms of Skin Redness
The most common symptom of skin redness is… red skin! Yet, sometimes skin redness can be characterized by other physical symptoms, including:
- Burning sensations
- Dry skin
- Scaly skin
- Skin is hot or warm to the touch
Again, your doctor will probably look at all your symptoms before making a diagnosis, as other symptoms can be indicative of different conditions.
Medical Help for Skin Redness
When it comes to skin redness, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your symptoms when determining whether or not to pay your doctor a visit. Some of the most common symptoms of severe skin redness that requires medical help include:
- Shortness of breath
- Large burns
- Open sores
- Unbearable pain
If you don’t want to head to an emergency room, you can always contact a telehealth urgent care clinic to diagnose your symptoms. But if your symptoms seem dangerous, we recommend calling 911 just to be on the safe side.
Treatments for Skin Redness
The treatments for skin redness vary by condition and symptoms. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, at-home remedies, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, medical treatments, or emergency procedures.
Some of the most common treatments for skin redness include:
- Cleaning the area
- Disinfecting the area
- Oral medications, like antibiotics and antihistamines
- Salves, balms, lotions, and creams
- Prescription creams
- Steroid creams
- Reducing stress
- Oatmeal baths
- Avoiding perfumes and synthetic beauty products
- Moisturizing with aroma-free creams
- Limiting use of alcohol or other stimulants
- Aloe vera
No matter why your skin is flushed, a red dermis means something out of balance in or on your body. When in doubt, we recommend contacting a medical professional to rule out any serious side-effects or underlying conditions.
If you don’t want to head all the way to your primary care provider, check out our list of online doctors and get your symptoms diagnosed from home.